If you want your products and brands to sell in China, presence on WeChat and Weibo is essential. Managing dozens of brands and accounts – and thousands of messages and posts – on China’s social media can be an overwhelming job. Alex Duncan and Brian van Damme launched the solution for the thousands of social media agencies in the Shanghai region. Their KAWO product became the tool of choice to hold all balls in the air at once.
The founders launched their product and company five years ago. Today, a modest KAWO multinational team of ten employees manages what has become the #1 platform for global brands building a social presence in China. The web-based solution is used by hundreds of social media agencies in the Shanghai region, that post thousands of posts every day that get read by the 70 million Chinese followers of the top brands in the world.
Easy to publish
Co-founder Alex Duncan, born and raised in the UK: “We wanted to use technology to make social media in China more transparent and easier to manage.” The first version of KAWO did nothing more than pulling in posts from client’s Facebook and Twitter accounts making it easy to translate and publish them on social media such as Sina Weibo, Renren, and Tencent Weibo. “We soon realised that translation alone wasn't enough, and we made KAWO a management platform helping brands and their global teams to work effectively together, focusing on WeChat and Weibo.”
Success story: NFL
Today, hundreds of international brands cannot do without KAWO. Alex mentions the success story of the U.S. NFL (National Football League) that uses social media to maintain its huge popularity in China. “A team in Shanghai posts content about the 32 teams on China’s social media, from the Dallas Cowboys and the New England Patriots to the Philadelpha Eagles and the Oakland Raiders. Translating and posting the content, originating from the teams’ accounts on Facebook and other media is a daunting task. Not to mention logging into the U.S. accounts countless times per day. Thanks to KAWO, the NFL social media team in Shanghai can access all of these accounts at the press of a button. Translating content and publishing on Chinese social media is handled via the same platform in a very quick, easy and efficient way.”
The bonuses of KAWO
KAWO comes with several bonuses. On its dashboard, users enjoy tools for planning, content creation, collaboration, reporting and insights. They can manage multiple accounts at the same time, at a high level of collaboration between teams and users in multiple locations – even with oceans between them. “New York is a great example. Tourist promotion for the city can only be effective when the experts in New York work closely together with colleagues in Shanghai that know how to influence the Chinese would-be visitor to New York. They all work in the same KAWO environment, where they can access the same tools for planning, data-analysis and workflow.”
Alex, Brian and their staff often demo their product at agencies in the region. “Their hard-working employees all start smiling at the same point in the demo: it is the moment that they realise that the regular way of handling their job eventually creates clutter and ‘spaghetti’ and lacks overview.”
The founders of KAWO are confident about the future of their business. Every day, WeChat and Weibo seem to become more important in marketing international brands and products. “The tool offers them a way to be more effective, to get more done in an easy and quick way. International enterprises that experience that wages and agency rates go up in China, embrace KAWO as it offers full control – in one look at the dashboard – without having to build and maintain complicated spreadsheets.”
Meanwhile, the stakes are getting higher. “As it becomes harder to stand out on Chinese social media, agencies have to become more creative. Being in control and managing and analyzing their data is now crucial – the KAWO platform offers all the data a team may need. Also, with clients that become more demanding about performance, results and cost-effectiveness, agencies need to get more to done with the same employees.”
There is one more growth factor that may put KAWO in the spotlight further. “Many international brands have done well in China. Looking at their hundreds of accounts, they find they lack overview and clear insights into where they are heading. They realise they need to get out of the ‘patchwork’, cluttered approach. They need to take charge and really start managing their social media presence in China. KAWO could be their answer.”
The KAWO tool
The KAWO team